Upper School Demographers Explore Virtual Graveyard in Population Ecology Study

The leaves on the Upper School campus are starting to turn, and students' thoughts are turning towards Halloween. This means that it must be time for Upper School Biology Teacher Tricia Roth's famous Graveyard Lab!
In order to make this spooky investigation of population ecology possible for this year's biology students, Mrs. Roth turned to her trusty lab assistants Casey '28 and Wil '31. Together, the trio created an informational video to teach the Upper School students about the study of demography, and challenge them to explore the Eagles Rest (virtual) graveyard in order to collect data to use to hypothesize about the population of a town called Creektopia during several periods of history. Students viewed the video, and then used the embedded, pulsating links in a Thinglink app to move around the cemetery and collect names, gender, birth dates, and death dates. Students used the data collected in the graveyard to calculate statistics needed to create an Age Structure Pyramid and answer questions about population booms and declines, and make predictions about the population for the future.
This engaging, seasonally appropriate lab gave the students the opportunity to dive into a real-world application of the skills they are learning in class.